Fall Film Preview: Independent Films Knock at the Door

Beasts of No Nation
 “I will always protect you, because you’re my son and a son always protects a       images-2   father.” –Commandant

Emmy winner Cary Fukunaga follows up his True Detective (season one) run with this new Netflix original movie. Based Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel, the story follows a young West African boy named Agu (Abraham Attah). After mercenaries kill his family, Agu finds himself under the tutelage of the African warlord, known as the Commandant, played by Idris Elba. The brutality of Agu’s circumstance mirrors Hushpuppy’s trials in the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild. While Hushpuppy retained her sense of wonder about the world, viewers will observe the deterioration of Agu’s innocence.

Beasts of No Nation will certainly be making headlines even before award seasonimages begins. On October 6th, 2015 Netflix will release the film simultaneously on their streaming service and in select theaters. Hopefully, this unprecedented release schedule will not overshadow Fukunaga, Attah, or Elba’s critically acclaimed work in the film. Attah has already won the Venice Film Festival award for best young actor. Time will tell if this young actor from Ghana will be in attendance at the next Oscars ceremony.

To watch the trailer click here

The Danish Girl
There was a moment when I wasn’t just me…there was a moment when I images-6          was Lilli.” –Lili Elbe

Academy Award winning director Tom Hopper (The King’s Speech) brings to life another period piece about one of the first known recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Set in Copenhagen during the 1920s the film stars Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as Gerda Wegener. The film focuses on the marriage between Gerda and Einar, before, during, and after Einar transforms into Lili. Based on the trailer it appears that Hopper tells this remarkable love story through a feminine gaze lens, with a captivating transgender nuance.

images-4Critics have already screened the film at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Many predict that Redmayne could be the first performer since Tom Hanks to win two consecutive Oscars for acting. More notably though has been the critics’ reaction to Vikander’s performance in the film. Collider’s Adam Chitwood explains, “Redmayne is excellent, but this is Vikander’s movie.” Overall the film was received at TIFF similarly to Redmayne’s previous film, The Theory of Everything, praised primarily for its actors.

In theaters on November 27th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here

Trumbo
images-8“That’s the perfect combination…the radical may fight the purity of Jesus…but the rich guy wins with the cunning of Satan.” –Trumbo

Remember, Bryan Cranston is, “the one who knocks,” and he is knocking on the Adademy’s door with his turn as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo. The film tells the true story about how he became a ghostwriter for various movies after testifying in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Dalton Trumbo would later be publicly credited for writing such films as Spartacus, Exodus, and Roman Holiday. Based on the trailer, it appears that director Jay Roach splashes comedic color across this period piece, set during the black and white era of McCarthyism. Cranston’s performance is supported by a great ensemble cast that includes Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, and Diane Lane.

Anyone else thinking award season déjà vu? Last year, Michael Keaton (Birdman)images-9 ran a close race against Eddie Redmayne, who ultimately walked away with the golden statue. Will Redmayne be able to beat out possible contender Bryan Cranston this year? Like I said earlier, Cranston is the “one who knocks.”

In theaters on November 6th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

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